Facing military court martial can be a daunting experience. You need every advantage you can get, and that’s where the art of negotiation comes into play. Military defense attorneys are equipped with a powerful secret weapon – their ability to negotiate effectively. In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of negotiation tactics in military defense, the techniques used by attorneys, and why a civilian military defense attorney can often provide the best chance at negotiating a favorable outcome.
The Power of Negotiation Tactics in Military Defense
The Silent Hero
Negotiation often remains a silent hero in the world of military defense. It’s the behind-the-scenes work that can drastically influence the outcome of your military court martial. The power of negotiation lies in its potential to reduce charges, secure leniency, or even result in the dismissal of your case.
A Complex Legal Landscape
Understanding the role of negotiation in military defense requires acknowledging the unique and intricate legal landscape within the military justice system. Military law significantly differs from civilian law, making specialized knowledge paramount.
Why a Civilian Military Defense Attorney Matters
Military defense attorneys, whether civilian or military-appointed, play a vital role in the justice system. However, civilian military defense attorneys often hold a unique advantage when it comes to negotiation.
1. Fresh Perspective on Military Regulations
Civilian attorneys bring a fresh perspective to the table. They approach military regulations from a different angle, identifying potential loopholes, ambiguities, or inconsistencies that might work in the service member’s favor. This unique viewpoint can be a game-changer during negotiations.
2. Unbiased Advocacy
Civilian military defense attorneys offer unbiased advocacy. They prioritize your case and your interests without any internal military influence or bias. This personal touch can be invaluable when striving for the best possible outcome.
3. Specialized Expertise
Civilian military defense attorneys often have specialized expertise in specific areas of military law. This knowledge enables them to craft a negotiation strategy tailored to your military court martial’s unique circumstances. Whether you’re dealing with issues like needing to retain VA benefits after the case, trying to keep your rank, or other military-specific matters, their expertise can prove invaluable.
Key Negotiation Tactics for Military Defense Attorneys
Now, let’s unveil the secret weapon of military defense attorneys – their essential negotiation tactics. These tactics can make all the difference when advocating for service members.
1. Plea Bargaining: A Vital Component
Plea bargaining involves negotiating with the prosecution to secure a favorable plea agreement for the accused. Most military court martial cases do not go to trial, making plea bargaining a vital component of the defense strategy. Attorneys work to reduce the charges or penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. This tactic can lead to a more lenient outcome, especially when evidence is stacked against the service member.
In my personal experience, when the allegation included accusations of sexual assault, with damning evidence to suggest it (think of the Gone Girl scenario), effective plea bargaining allowed my client to avoid registering as a sex offender.
One of the best negotiators is Chris Voss, the founder of the Black Swan Group and the author of Never Split the Difference. In his book, he discusses the power of asking “How”. An experienced defense counsel can make the Trial Counsel negotiate against himself or herself with this simple question.
2. Leveraging Mitigating Circumstances
Military defense attorneys are skilled at identifying and presenting mitigating circumstances that can lessen the severity of charges. These circumstances might include a clean service record, past achievements, or personal challenges faced by the accused. Skillful presentation can humanize the service member and garner sympathy from the court.
Military judges are human, too. It is impossible to avoid a compelling story. But telling the compelling story is an art and skillset. It takes years to hone the oral advocacy skills necessary to convey mitigating evidence in the face of serious allegations. However, this is something an effective military defense attorney can do.
3. Leveraging Evidence
A strategic use of evidence is a cornerstone of negotiation tactics. Attorneys know how to scrutinize the prosecution’s evidence and can identify weaknesses or inconsistencies. They use this knowledge to negotiate more favorable terms or even convince the prosecution that their military court martial case is weaker than initially thought.
Not all courts-martial cases go to trial, and an experienced military defense lawyer will know how to leverage their experience to request a separation in lieu of trial or to negotiate for an NJP Board Waiver when the client is facing years in confinement.
The Role of Open Communication
Open communication between the attorney and the accused is vital during the negotiation process. Service members should actively participate in discussions about their case, providing insights and information that can help shape the negotiation strategy. Because the attorney was not at the party where the allegation took place, it is important to discuss all of the facts associated with the event to ensure your communication is effective.
Balancing Act: When to Negotiate and When to Fight
One of the attorney’s key roles is to strike a delicate balance between negotiation and taking a case to trial. While negotiation can be incredibly powerful, there are instances when pursuing a trial is strategically advantageous. Military defense attorneys carefully assess each situation to determine the best course of action.
When looking to hire an attorney, ask the simple question: have you tried a case? Not all attorneys have trial experience so it is important to work with someone who has litigated a court-martial before.
The Success of Negotiation: What It Means for Service Members
The success of negotiation can be life-changing for service members. It can mean the difference between retaining rank, benefits, and freedom or facing severe consequences like a dishonorable discharge. Successful negotiation offers service members a second chance, a brighter future, and an opportunity to protect their reputation.
In conclusion, the art of negotiation is a secret weapon that civilian military defense attorneys use to protect the rights and future of service members. When facing a military court martial, don’t underestimate the power of skilled negotiators in your corner. Seek experienced civilian military defense attorneys like those at Kevin Courtney Law who excel in negotiation tactics, and rest assured that you have a strong advocate working to secure the best possible outcome for your case.